Posts by tag: Grey Market

Kawasaki January 11, 2018 posted by

Cali-Titled Two-Stroke: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the vibrant quarter-liter two-stroke class saw the NSR, RGV, and TZR go at it with knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth intensity. Notably missing from much of the action was Kawasaki. It didn't help that Kawasaki didn't start building a two-stroke sportbike until 1988 and abandoned the class in 1992, before the other Japanese manufacturers and, as a result, the Kawasaki KR-1S is a bit of a holy grail for two-stroke fans in the USA. They're really nearly impossible to find in any market, as Kawasaki produced less than 10,000 examples in total, and they were obviously never sold here in the US.

If all you've done is glance at the spec sheets of the class competitors, you could be forgiven for thinking the bikes in this class were pretty much the same, with two-cylinder, liquid-cooled two-strokes, aluminum beam frames, six-speed gearboxes, and a suspiciously identical 45hp output. In fact, sometimes only a catchy acronym for the power valve gives the manufacturer away, although KIPS, ATAC, SAPC, and YPVS all performed basically the same basic function. But period road tests and two-stroke enthusiasts claim that each has a distinct character that seems line with corporate sterotypes: Honda's NSR was sophisticated and refined, while Suzuki's RGV was a bit of an unruly wild-child, fast and a bit fragile. But although Kawasaki joined the party late and left early, they left an indelible impression and their KR-1S was claimed to be the fastest, the easiest to tune, and have the hairiest handling of the bunch.

The KR-1S was powered by a liquid-cooled 249cc parallel-twin with a 180° crankshaft that also drove a balance shaft to improve smoothness, and put power to the back wheel through a six-speed gearbox. The "S" model seen here featured wider wheels at the front and rear, and tested top speed of 139mph. An "R" model was also available, but is nearly impossible to find, with fewer than 200 built. Interestingly enough, last month's Practical Sportbikes features an article that discusses the rebuild of a KR-1R in detail.

Like yesterday's ZX-7R, this KR-1S is slathered in green, white, and blue graphics that suit the bike's brash personality. Happily, the seller also includes images of the bike with the fairing removed, as it shows off the very slick aftermarket expansion chambers and another odd detail: the engine sits almost entirely below the frame! That of course keeps the bike relatively narrow, but seems strange that most of the engine is suspended beneath the frame, rather than nestled between the frame spars.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale

1990 Kawasaki KR1S C2. I am relisting and selling another bike out of my prize collection. Journalist called the KR1-S the most exotic and fastest of all the 250 2 stokes of that era. This KR1S is a UK model. Which means UK CDI power box, mile per hour speedo. Non-restrictive. Always been in street bike form. Not a converted back race bike. This is truly a rare bike. Unlike NSR’s, TZR’s and RGV’s and even Aprilia RS’s that come up for sale now and then, you very rarely see one of these for sale. I have owned this bike for over 10 years. I have spent many of thousands of dollars on upgrades. I mean many! I installed a pricy set of Dyna mags magnesium rims. The old KR1S aluminum rims came with a 17” front and an 18” rear. These are 17” front and back. Light weight magnesium and make sporty tires more available. I have put on a set of Michelin pilot sport tires. Green D.I.D.  O-Ring chain with gold aluminum sprocket. Beautiful high end custom steering damper. Then I had made a JMC fully braced swingarm with eccentric adjustment. Beautifully polished. I was told at the time that this was the only top braced swingarm that JMC has ever made for the KR1S. I installed a huge custom made “Pace” radiator made for the KR1S. This radiator is huge, and solves the problem of any overheating. If anything I have to tape of part of the radiator when its cool out. But a nice position to be in. Silicone radiator hose are used. Then I purchased a nice new set of Jolly Moto pipes with Carbon silencers. Bikes sound great and pulls better. I had the rear shock rebuilt and the shock spring powder coated green to match the bike. Front forks have been recently rebuilt with all new bushings, oil and seals. Rebuilt both the front and rear calibers with new stainless pistons, bolts, and seals. I had them powder coated too. Custom made steel braided brakes lines with aluminum fittings. They look like new. I also installed new light weight disks front and back.  Have a fortune in light weight titanium, stainless, and aluminum bolts throughout.  All the lights and switches work. The bike has 16,600 miles on it. So a far as I know the motor has never been touched.  I had plans to rebuild the motor and including all the parts to do it.  I have everything needed to build it included. But now I have gotten old and don’t have time for this project. I have tuned it up, changed all the fluids. Adjusted the power valves, etc. Bike does still run strong but mileage is getting up there for 28 year 2 stroke. The original bodywork on the bike is not too bad for its age but not perfect either. I had a few tabs and small cracks repaired. The tank has a couple tiny little chips, but is in remarkably in good shape for its age. No dents. The tank is clean inside without rust. The body panels have a few scratches and touched up spots.  Still not all that bad for its age either. Please refer to the pictures for more details. I am including the stock rims with a brand new fresh powder coat on them. The stock pipes, radiator, manuals, and various other parts as seen in my list and pictures. Lots of stuff.

The following is a list of some of the parts that are included with the bike, but not complete. No much to list. Please refer to pictures.

  • 4 brand new piston sets, including, rings, pins, clips, and small ends
  • Complete set of crank seals and crank bearings, plus new rod sets. Everything needed to completely rebuild the crank like new.
  • 3 gaskets set, plus one extra head gasket
  • New Water pump part set
  • New carb sets including floats
  • Power valve seals
  • New billet aluminum power valves and power valve wheels
  • 1 extra new front disk
  • Numerous new seals and bearing that go into the motor
  • Stock pipes in good condition
  • Stock swingarm with fresh paint and new bearings and seals. Like new
  • Stock radiator in excellent condition
  • Stock wheels with fresh powder coating, sprocket,  and cush drive

All the old wheel bearing, wheel spacers, front and back disks, sprockets, brake lines, and caliber parts. The old original nuts and bolts that were replaced with titanium and stainless, aluminum

Bike comes with a current California registration and title!  Has all the correct serial and engine numbers, but is listed as a 1980 instead of a 1990. You might think that wow I am asking way too much for this bike? I say “find don’t buy it then”. What I can say how often you see one of these for sale in this condition, with all these extras and titled too? Try to find another? These bikes are only going to increase in value as time passes. Plus I am including thousands of dollars in extra parts.

So the $17,500 asking price is big money for a two-stroke sportbike, but I'm betting it will find a buyer: if that California title is valid, I know a couple folks who'd love to snap it up, and it's really not all that far off what folks have been asking for pristine NSR250s recently. It isn't completely stock, but all of the upgrades described by the seller are clearly intended to thoughtfully boost performance and handling. All-in-all, it's one of the coolest bikes we've posted recently.

-tad

Cali-Titled Two-Stroke: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale
Honda December 30, 2017 posted by

Jersey-Titled Vee Four: 1992 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Prices of the RC30 have gone through the roof, and enthusiasts who want a taste of Honda's homologation specials have been forced to go elsewhere. Luckily, the less-desirable, less cubically-endowed, and equally exotic VFR400R NC30 manages to provide many of the qualities of its larger sibling at a greatly reduced cost. At a glance, it's pretty hard to tell the RC30 and the NC30 apart anyway, as both feature very similar styling with those distinctive twin round headlamps and the distinctive Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm. It's just as tasty under the skin, as both the 750cc RC30 and the 400cc NC30 are powered by V4s with gear-driven cams and 360° "big bang" crankshafts that gave the bikes a distinctive noise and a wide, accessible powerband that made them easy to fully exploit on road or track.

The NC30 had impressive handling to match it's bigger-engined brother, and although power was down compared to the RC30, so was weight: the NC30 clocked in at a claimed 313lbs dry versus 400lbs, and the little 400cc machine had a top speed of 130mph, a pretty impressive achievement. Sure, the NC30 only makes 59hp, but handling is the name of the game here, and revving the nuts off a bike to make good progress on a fast road is much more fun than loafing with the throttle barely cracked for fear of catapulting yourself into the weeds riding a 200hp liter bike.

Prices for the smaller V4 machine have increased significantly over the past few years, but examples like this very clean Honda VFR400R show that good deals are still available for the cost of a used R6. Keep in mind that these are all grey market imports here in the US: some have sneaked in from Canada, and more have been brought over from Japan in recent years. But a valid title, especially from a state with more stringent requirements like New Jersey as is the case here, adds plenty of value for anyone who actually wants to ride their little homologation specials on the road.

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Honda VFR400R for Sale

1992 Honda VFR 400 NC30 with 24449 miles. It will come with a clean New Jersey State title. Full maintenance service was performed including carb rebuild, new fork seals, new ngk ER9EH spark plugs, Motul Motocool coolant, motul brake fluid, Motul 300V oil, hiflo filter and new set of Michelin PRD3 tires. I also had the wheels and fork legs powder coated. Bike does have some minor scuffs all over from years of service. Fairings are all OEM but does have some scratches and fading on front fender. This bike is solid and ready to go! Please refer to the High Resolution pics attached.   

Bidding is slow so far, and up to just over $2,000, with a Buy It Now price of $7,800 that still seems like a relative bargain. That funky 18" rear hoop might make things a bit more difficult when the time comes to fit new tires. Fortunately, an increase in the popularity of classic racing means there have been more options recently, since a number of the late 1980s two-strokes share the 17" front and 18" rear combination seen here. Aside from a few scuffs and scrapes, this appears to be in very nice condition, the the seller is obviously an enthusiast.

-tad

Jersey-Titled Vee Four: 1992 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale
Yamaha December 22, 2017 posted by

Racing Sport: 1993 Yamaha TZR250RS for Sale

Update: A reader reached out to note that, "The forks are missing the compression and rebound clickers, those are R forks." Seller replied back to us, "I pulled out the books and it looks like the first year for the RS model was a 3XV8 which had the same forks as the standard R model. The next year, 3XV9 and 3XVA came with adjusters." Thanks to SmokinJoe B for the note and Gary for the response. -dc

Yamaha's two-stroke TZR250 was always a bit of an odd duck in the quarter-liter sportbike class. The first-generation TZR was the much more sophisticated follow up to the RD series of bikes and was pretty widely available everywhere but in the US, while later examples like the 3MA and 3XV seen here were only available outside Japan as grey-market or parallel imports and are considered exotic, even in markets where two-stroke sportbikes were common.

Early 1KT and 3MA TZRs used parallel twins, but the final 3XV version finally adopted an "if you can't beat them" philosophy and changed to a small 90° v-twin to match the competition from Honda and Suzuki. The new v-twin displaced 249cc and was backed by a six-speed gearbox. Like the NSR, it featured computer-controlled ignition and Yamaha's YPVS power valve system. In spite of all the trickery, it produced the usual 45hp, limited by the expected Japanese governmental regulations.

The rest of the specification was pretty similar to the rest of the class as well: a 278lbs dry weight with a stiff aluminum beam frame like other bikes in the class, in this case an evolution of Yamaha's Deltabox, with a banana swingarm to allow the bike's distinctive asymmetrical exhaust to tuck in close to the bike's centerline.

From the original eBay listing: 1993 Yamaha TZR250RS Racing Sport for Sale

Up for auction to the highest bidder with NO RESERVE is a 1993 Yamaha TZR250RS with 16,709 kilometers (10,382 miles). This is the dry clutch Racing Sport model that everybody wants. Bike is in beautiful condition with a few scrapes and scratches. Tank is in perfect condition. All fairings are 100% genuine Yamaha OEM. Upper fairing appears to have been professionally re-sprayed. Bike has a tremendous amount of curb appeal. This RS is a solid rider and is ready to go. Full service just performed with new battery and fluids. Bike runs flawless. Bike comes with Utah state title and is titled as a streetbike for road use.

Merry Christmas!

Bidding is up to just $6,100 with a couple days left and the reserve has been met! As rare as all of these two strokes have been up until recently, I've seen quite a few Hondas and even a few Suzukis, but the various iterations of the Yamaha TZR are still uncommon here in the US, especially in clean condition with OEM bodywork. I'm not clear what "beautiful condition with scratches and scrapes throughout" means exactly, but I'm assuming it means it's been well cared-for and the paint looks good, but has the usual minor blemishes a bike picks up through normal use: a scratch on the tank from a belt buckle, a scuff on the tail from a boot while swinging a leg over, a scrape where another bike parked too close at a bike meetup.

-tad

Racing Sport: 1993 Yamaha TZR250RS for Sale
Aprilia December 16, 2017 posted by

Sharp-Dressed Hooligan: 1997 Aprilia RS250 With Just 240 Miles for Sale

Built between 1995 and 2002, although the last couple years were "for off-road use only," the Aprilia RS250 was one of the last holdouts from the two-stroke brigade, following the RGV250 into history. It's also one of the best-looking: some folks can't say no to the garish neon graphics of their youth, but I'm a sucker for the basic black of the RS250. It helps to highlight the beautiful frame and swingarm that manage to look both strong and elegant. Every bike in the class used an aluminum beam frame, but units found on the RGV and NSR were far more straightforward and industrial-looking than the almost sculptural parts used by Aprilia.

I'd be happy with any RS250, but I'm a particular fan of this earlier version's styling, and I think it's one of the best-looking sportbikes of all time. The gauges in particular look less horribly dated than on the later machines. The engine was the same across both versions, and was taken from Suzuki's fierce little RGV250Γ. Aprilia claims that it was "modified" but that appears to have been marketing claptrap: readers more intimately familiar with both machines and with no skin in the game swear they're identical, barring some minor "Aprilia" branding.

Of course, the the fact that the RS250 shared its engine with the RGV250 might lessen its pedigree somewhat, but makes the spares situation much more palatable. In this case, it might not be a problem, since it seems like this particular machine is destined to be lovingly admired instead of happily thrashed...

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Aprilia RS250 for Sale

1997 Aprilia RS250, 240 miles, and a California plate registered to its original 17 digit VIN. That should pretty much sum it up. Bike is in 100% stock original condition and still has the original tires on it. These bikes have the VJ22A RGV250 motor in them which is fantastic when mated to the RS250 chassis ands factory Brembo brakes. Starts right up and purrs away as expected. This is a highly collectible two stroke as not many of these exist and only a handful are registered for the street [see pics]. Current registration, California title in hand, sold as is. Enjoy the ride… The bike is for sale locally so the auction can end at any time, FYI.

Bidding is very active, and up to $7,800 with a couple days left on the auction. It's always disappointing when the seller doesn't include more details about a bike, but what else is there to say? The thing has just 240 miles on it, so pretty much a couple weekends worth of canyon riding over the bike's entire 20 year life. The current tags add significantly to the value, since it's hard to get that paperwork for a grey-market bike in California without "knowing a guy." It's great to hear that it runs, but I can't imagine any new owner would put many more miles on it, and that is especially sad: I know a bunch of guys with very nice grey market two-strokes that would love a chance to thrash this little Aprilia out in the canyons.

-tad

Sharp-Dressed Hooligan: 1997 Aprilia RS250 With Just 240 Miles for Sale
Honda December 1, 2017 posted by

Triple Time: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

Honda's two-stroke NS400R was ostensibly intended to capitalize on their Grand Prix racing efforts, but with less displacement and one fewer cylinder than rivals from Suzuki and Yamaha, it got lost in the shuffle at the time and suffered from a perceived lack of hairy-chestedness, compared to its 500cc competition.

So why did Honda go with a 400cc triple instead of a 500cc four, like Yamaha and Suzuki? Well in fact Yamaha and Suzuki did produce 400cc versions of their engines, in order to make these performance machines more appealing in their home market of Japan, where taxes and licensing laws made owning the 500cc version prohibitively expensive. So instead of building different versions of their repli-racer to suit the laws of different countries, Honda simply used the 400cc version for all markets.

The performance gap, especially between the NS400R and the RZ500 is actually pretty minimal, due to the Honda’s light weight: the liquid-cooled 387cc V3 produced a claimed 72hp and the bike weighed just 360lbs. A six-speed gearbox helped keep the two-stroke “on the pipe” and the bike featured sophisticated suspension at both ends, with TRAC anti-dive forks and a Pro-Link rear setup. Modular Comstar wheels were fitted with radial tires, a relative novelty at the time.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

This bike has been meticulously restored from bottom to top as a shining example of the replica Honda put out in honour of the legend Fast Freddie Spencer! For the hard core era two stroke enthusiast and collector, this machine will not disappoint you!

I also have another 1986 NS400R that is in parts. Everything mechanically is there for restoration except some of the body fairings. I would not be fair to part this unit out as a result. I am prepared to sell both as a package or separately. 

Ask and I can send you the link to the Youtube video.

Period reviews praised the bike’s handling, and the overall package was surprisingly refined, considering the bike’s light weight and racy specification. I wonder if that didn't hurt the bike's reputation, although it should have been a bonus at the time. It's the same thing that let down the RZ500: in an effort to make a better road bike, Yamaha lost sight of why people were interested in a big-bore two-stroke in the first place, and the result was needlessly heavy and somewhat less exciting than Suzuki's Gamma. The NS400R doesn't have a weight problem, but it doesn't seem to have the RG500's wild reputation, either. They were relative bargains for a long time, but values have risen significantly over the past few years and this restored example is being offered for approximately $9,400 US. Note that this bike is currently in Canada, so keep that in mind before you hit the Buy It Now or Make Offer buttons.

-tad

Triple Time: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale
Honda November 21, 2017 posted by

Baby ‘Blade: 1992 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

The Honda CBR400RR was designed to appeal to buyers in certain countries that were limited to bikes of smaller displacement because of tiered licensing requirements or heavy taxes on larger machines. Racing classes in those markets also existed to campaign 400cc motorcycles, and were hotly contested by the usual suspects: Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki also had smaller versions of their popular sportbikes. Honda even went a step further, and offered a second 400cc sportbike in their V4-powered VFR400R. Unlike today's smaller-displacement offerings, these were grown-up sportbikes in miniature: instead of a simple single-cylinder engine or an economical parallel-twin, the CBR400 used a 399cc inline four with sixteen valves, gear-driven twin overhead cams, backed by a six-speed gearbox, and suspended in a stiff aluminum frame. Straight-line performance was modest by today's standards, but bikes in the class had handling that was often better than their more powerful, but generally heavier siblings.

Americans saw a variation of this bike in the short-lived CB-1 that used a slightly detuned version of the CBR's inline four, including the sexy gear-driven cams, but wrapped in a steel frame instead of the CBR's lighter aluminum beam design. A lack of bodywork on the CB-1 kept the weight reasonable compared to the sportier CBR and the bike was a good handler, but Americans just weren't ready for a pricey, naked machine like that in the late 1980s. Would the CBR have sold any better, had it been brought over? America had a pretty binary motorcycling culture through the 80s and 90s: people bought sportbikes or cruisers, with little interest in more practical machines. The CBR would have been similar to Yamaha's offerings, whose little FZR400 was actually more sophisticated than the bigger-engined, but heavier, steel-framed FZR600. FZR400 is certainly a cult bike now, but its relative rarity suggests the CBR wouldn't have been much of a success at the time, although I expect it might have sold better than the CB-1.

At the end of the day, without the laws and taxes that conjured the 400cc class into being, there isn't much to recommend the bike over the CBR600 or CBR900, aside from superlative handling. The main appeal here is rarity, agility, and the fun of a motorcycle you can cane the hell out of without needing the skills of a professional racer, or a helicopter airlift ride to the nearest trauma center.

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Honda CBR400RR for Sale

Very rare 1992 Honda CBR400 (baby Fireblade) NC29 legally imported from Japan and currently titled, insured and registered here in NJ. Bike has 13220 miles, fresh Motul (brake fluid, engine oil and coolant) fluids, TSR slip on, new NGK plugs, Continental Attack tires, carbs were cleaned and fuel tank drained/cleaned. This bike is very clean and in excellent condition. Please feel free to message if you have any questions. 

From the relatively low-resolution photos, this appears to be a very nice example of a cool, grey-market CBR400RR, but unfortunately the Buy It Now price is an eye-watering $9,500. New Jersey's DMV may not be as draconian as California's in terms of emissions requirements, but they're even more strict in other ways, so the NJ title and registration suggests that the seller hasn't cut any corners making this legal although, as always, caveat emptor.

-tad

Baby ‘Blade: 1992 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale